Monday, August 14, 2017

Liquor, Barrel, and Wood-Aged Brown Ale

Removing the head from a barrel.Most of the events I do are 30-60 minutes, perfect for talking (ideally including questions from the audience). A few years ago I taught intro-to-homebrewing classes for LivingSocial, I quickly learned that 150 minutes was too long for a lecture alone. I added an extract brewing pantomime to demonstrate the key steps in wort production, brought ingredients to taste and smell, and loaded up with slides with photos to hold the audience's attention.

When Brew Your Own asked me to present on sour beers and barrels for their Boot Camp series, I knew I had to come up with ways to make it interactive to fill six hours! Obviously some of the time is me talking and flipping through slides and answering questions, but I wanted to mix in drinking and action. I've honed the sessions in Burlington and Santa Rosa, and I'm looking forward to the next two November in Indianapolis and February in San Diego!

Sour Beer Techniques
   Overview of wort production for sour beers
   Microbe selection, propagation, harvesting
   Capturing wild microbes
   Tasting and blending teas, tinctures, juices, wines, meads etc. into sours
   Tasting and blending three of my homebrewed sours
   Working with me on a custom sour beer recipe

Barrel and Wood Aging
   Discussion of barrel-aging and wood-aging techniques
   Tasting and blending wood teas with commercial beer
   Evaluating and inspecting a barrel from a local brewery (thanks FOAM and Rare Barrel)
   Hands-on leak repair tools and techniques
   Installing a stainless steel sample nail
   Removing and reseating the barrel's head
   Tasting a batch split between barrel – liquor – wood

Speaking of which, I thought I'd post a mini-tasting of that split batch for those of you who can't make it to the Boot Camps. This batch is a somewhat extra-hefty 15 gallon batch of English brown: infused with malt whiskey from Balcones Distilling, aged in a 5 gallon Balcones malt whiskey barrel, and aged on a medium toast American oak honeycomb from Black Swan Cooperage!

Big Brown Barrel-Off

From left to right: Barrel, Liquor, OakAppearance, all three look nearly identical. Deep dark brown with a three finger tan head. Beautiful lacing, although it appears too quickly as the head drops in just five minutes.

Balcones Malt Whiskey Barrel (pH 4.38)

Integrated slightly spicy oak and spirit. Brighter than the liquor, less dark fruit and sugar. Notes of toast and light roast coffee come through from the malt much better. Fresh plums. Drier than the liquor infused thanks to the oak tannins. A more balanced beer that I could consider drinking more than 6 ounces of in a sitting. Likely could have sat in the barrel longer if I knew I was going to sit on it for a year.

Balcones Malt Whiskey Infused (pH 4.32)

When this beer was young it was really raw and boozy. Both classes had sizable contingents that guessed this was from the whiskey barrel. It is still potent with a mild ethanol warming, but it has rounded out with dark sugar and caramelized plum joining the rich malt. Still a little dry, but age has really brought the flavors together. Nice vanilla as it warms, almost bourbon-soaked chocolate brownies.

Medium Toast American White Oak HoneycombBlack Swan Honeycomb Oak Aged (pH 4.42)

Had and continues to have an off-putting phenolic character that reminds me of cheap wood. On the edge of plastic. The flavor is bland and the oak again dominates. I’ve had some wonderful results from oak aging beer with cubes, staves, and spheres… I’m not adding honeycomb to that list. It didn’t appear to be well toasted (in fact none of the sample from their mixed pack appeared well toasted).

An interesting comparison to see what stays the same and what is different. I've had good luck with barrel-alternatives, but I've gone back to cubes after the results from the honeycomb.

The first two were kegged when the third half went into the barrel.Recipe

Batch Size: 15.00 gal
SRM: 22.1
IBU: 38.3
OG: 1.065
FG: 1.010
ABV: 7.2%
Final pH: Above
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Boil Time: 65 min

Fermentables
-----------------
65.2% - 23 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
22.7% - 8 lbs Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Dark
3.5% - 1.25 lbs - Briess Flaked Soft Red Wheat
2.8% - 1 lbs Simpsons Dark Crystal
2.1% - .75 lbs Weyermann Caramunich II
2.1% - .75 lbs Weyermann Chocolate Wheat
1.4% - .50 lbs Dingemans Mroost 1400 MD (De-Bittered Black)

Mash
-------
Mash In - 30 min @ 156F

Hops
-------
2.75 oz Columbus (Pellets, 13.00% AA) @ 60 min

Water
-------
14 g Calcium Chloride

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
110
140
50
15
10
90

Other
------
1 Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 mins
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 5 mins

Yeast
-------
WLP023 White Labs Burton Ale

Notes
-------
Yeast harvested from 2 gallon batch Audrey brewed three weeks prior.

9/10/16 Brewed

All filtered DC tap water with 14 g of CaCl. Minimal sparge with about 4 gallons of cold water.

Chilled to 80F with ground water, left at 65F for 12 hours to chill the rest of the way before pitching.

9/27/16 Kegged 4 gallons plain with 4 oz of Balcones Malt Whiskey, 4 gallons with one medium toast Black Swan White Oak Honeycomb (brief boil, decanted), and into a fresh Balcones Malt Whisky barrel (stopper had come off during shipping - smelled great still).

10/21/16 Kegged the barrel-aged version, nice strong spirit character.

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Burlington Boot Camp, not Santa Rosa obviously.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Azacca Brett Saison - Keg Transfers

As I continue to work on opening Sapwood Cellars (lease negotiation ongoing!!), Audrey has started to pick up the homebrewing slack. After her Dark Belgian Wheat she brewed Wit Lightning inspired by Belgian wit, but with citrusy hops (Azacca) replacing the spices. I took half of the batch and pitched Omega Labs C2C American Farmhouse and dry hopped with more Azacca to make a lightly funky saison... Saison Lightning.

Despite some fancier primary fermentors with spigots (Ss Brew Bucket and Speidel), my post-fermentation-transfer game is basic. I do most of my racking via gravity and auto-siphon. It gives me control, and I haven’t had issues with oxidation on NEIPAs and other oxygen-sensitive styles as long as I purge the keg. Open transfers aren't really an option for carbonated beer though.

I wanted to combine Brett fermentation under-pressure and dry hopping. I did the first dose in primary to allow time for bioflavoring, but I wanted the Brett to have time to work before the final dose of hops to create developed Brett and fresh hops aromatics. My solution was to naturally keg-condition for six weeks and then jump the carbonated beer to a purged serving keg containing bagged and weighted hops.

When transfering carbonated beer between kegs, the goal is to have slightly more pressure on the filled keg than the receiving keg so that the beer is gently pushed from one keg to the other without the beer foaming. This is essentially the same method as counter-pressure filling a growler or bottle only on a larger scale.

Jumping from the carbonating keg (right) to the serving keg (left).

Process:
Step 1: Purge and then pressurize the receiving keg to the same pressure as the filled and chilled keg (15 PSI in this case).

Step 2: Connect the filled keg to a tap and dump the first pint to remove most of the sediment.

Step 3: Connect the two kegs from out-to-out post via a jumper line (a short length of tubing connecting two liquid quick disconnects).

Step 4: Connect the gas line to the filled keg to and increase the pressure slightly (17 PSI in this case).

Step 5: Connect a spunding valve to the receiving keg and set it to the same pressure as you pressurized the keg earlier (15 PSI).

Step 6: Wait for the transfer to complete (approximately five minutes).

Step 7: Disconnect the jumper line, gas line, and spunding valve.

Step 8: Connect the serving keg to the gas and serving line and enjoy reduced sediment beer!

This is also a great technique if you travel with kegs and want sediment free beer so yeast isn’t knocked into suspension during transit.

A glass of Brett saison dry hopped with Azacca.Saison Lightning

Smell – Varied aromatics of herbal lemongrass, apples, and pepper. Brett is subtle, behind the hops. Hops aren’t grassy or vegetal despite extended contact with the pellets in the keg.

Appearance – Slight haze, but overall it is a bright beer. Yellow gold. The white head is thick, but drops after a few minutes.

Taste – Similar to the nose with bright-integrated citrus notes on a peppery saison backdrop. The finish has a hint of earthy Brettiness. Deceptively complex because it is easy to drink. Mellow hop bitterness. Slight perceived sweetness thanks to the citrus character and slightly higher than expected final gravity.

Mouthfeel – Thin and crisp without harshness and tannic bite. Carbonation is a little low for a saison.

Drinkability & Notes – Crushable hoppy saison, has been a perfect beer to have on tap for summer. The hops cut through the Brett and everything works together.
Held up well in the keg so far (kicked the next day), which I assume means I didn’t introduce much oxygen when I jumped it over.

Changes for Next Time – Not much to change for this, although I'd lower the mash temperature if I was planning on the same timeline again. Could have given it another couple of months in the keg to condition before going onto the keg hops for a little more Brett character.

Recipe

Batch Size: 5.75 gal
SRM: 3.4
IBU: 16.1
OG: 1.049
FG: 1.007
ABV: 5.5%
Final pH: 4.35
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78%
Boil Time: 90 Mins

Fermentables
----------------
65.0% - 6.5 lbs Dingemans Pilsen
25.0 % - 2.5 lbs Flaked Wheat
7.5 % - .75 lbs Dingemans Cara 8
2.5 % - .25 lbs Weyermann Acidulated

Mash
-------
Mash In - 45 min @ 154F

Hops
-------
1.00 oz Saaz (Pellet, 2.75% AA) @ 10 min
1.50 oz Azacca (Pellet, 15.00% AA) @ Whirlpool 15 min
2.00 oz Azacca (Pellet, 15.00% AA) @ Brew Day Dry Hop
3.00 oz Azacca (Pellet, 15.00% AA) @ Keg Hop

Water
-------
5.50 g Calcium Chloride

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
90
110
50
15
10
90

Yeast
-------
OYL-217 Omega C2C American Farmhouse

Notes
-------
4/22/17 Brewed by Audrey

No sparge. Mash pH measured at 5.24. Collected 7 gallons of 1.039 runnings. A bit lower gravity than expected, extended boil to 90 minutes.

Chilled to 69F. No starter, pack less than a month old. 2 oz of brew day Azacca.

Left at 70F to ferment. Warmed up to nearly 80 for days 4-7. Then the weather cooled off.

5/6/17 Kegged with 3.75 oz of table sugar and was left to condition (no extra dry hops yet). A bit less attenuation than expected.

6/13/17 Moved the keg to the fridge.

6/16/17 Jumped to a freshly purged keg with more Azacca weighted with marbles and bagged in a knee high.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

BlackMan Yeast vs. Bottle Dregs

Barret and me.It feels like every other blog post or BYO Advanced Brewing article starts with me in some exotic location meeting an interesting person or drinking a mind-blowing beer that sparks an idea for a batch... this one starts October 2014 when I spoke at the Dixie Cup in Houston, Texas. It is the final competition in the Lone Star Circuit, and the banquet marks the end of the local homebrewing competition season. Among the highlights were a visit to St. Arnold's Brewing, listening to a fantastic presentation about hops, the rowdiest awards banquets of my life, judging a specialty category of "Best Beer to Chase a Hurricane," and a "barleywine breakfast" that was heavy on the vintage barleywine, light on the breakfast.

BlackMan Yeast samples and homebrew.One of the people I chatted with was Barrett Tillman, who was just getting Blackman Yeast running. Apparently I made a good impression because a few weeks later a box of samples showed up: both his first-and-still-only dried souring cultures, and a couple of homebrews (not to mention a note on what appeared to be on a surplus thank-you card from his wedding). Barrett's cultures are just brewer's yeast and bacteria (Lactobacillus and/or Pediococcus), bring your own Brettanomyces. It is a unique and interesting approach because Brett can come from so many sources and  provide such a range of flavors. As a power-user it is nice to have acid-production and funk as two separate dials (the same way I like my spice-rubs to be salt-free so I can add more without over-salting). To be as fair as possible, not wanting to judge his B4 Belgian Sour Mix on someone else's Brett, I added the bottle dregs from Barrett's delicious homebrewed Lambic for funk and to clean-up after the Pedio.

Mike and Anna.My friend Matt had been considering starting to homebrew, to entice him I invited him over to split a batch of pale sour beer. A few weeks earlier I'd been over to his house for a tasting and he'd selected a few choice bottles of De Garde, Cantillon, and Modern Times for dregs for the other half of the batch. I must have left the culture in the pressure-canned mason jar of wort with a loose lid for a few days too long before transferring to a bottle with an airlock, because by the time we gave it a smell it was pure malt vinegar. Since then I received a free sample of reCap mason-jar lids and water-less airlocks that are have hold up for two weeks without issue.

Luckily I'd also grabbed some dregs from more than a couple bottles of Hill Farmstead Anna that my friend Mike had stockpiled (including an especially good batch dubbed "magic" Anna). Hill Farmstead bottles their saisons with wine yeast, but the other microbes are likely doing most of the heavy lifting after long aging to this point.

When the two batches were ready Matt and I tasted them and made a few sample blends. It made sense, the BlackMan was more acidic, while the saison culture had better depth of funk and fruit flavors. However, when we blended them they each lost what was special. The combination didn't have the snappy acidity or the depth of funk-character. They were better left to stand on their own!

First pour of the two batches. M&M var. Black Man (Left)

Smell – Lemon and pineapple, has gotten much more interesting since bottling. Even a little farmyard.

Appearance – Similar appearance, clear gold on the initial pour, a little haze on the top-up. White head with poor retention.

Taste – Firm lip-smacking lactic acidity. Slight grain-cereal-yeastiness in the finish. Horse blanket as it warms, distant smoky phenolic.

Mouthfeel – Crisp without being watery. The acid is a bit grippy. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – A more assertive beer in terms of acidity and aroma.

Changes for Next Time – Not much.

After topping-off, and with HDR.M&M var. Anna (Right)

Smell – Bright and restrained. Hay, old citrus. Slight honeyed malt oxidation.

Appearance – Similar, although with slightly better retention.

Taste – Soft lemon, lots of hay. Really mellow, like my favorite gueuzes. Lactic acid is tame in comparison, more tart-saison than American sour side-by-side, but it was quite acidic on the first sip. A little Orval in the finish.

Mouthfeel – Feels a little softer thanks to the lower acidity. Similar medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – This is about it for me when it comes to an unblended mixed-fermentation sour beer. A range of fruity and funk, some bright acidity,

Changes for Next Time – Not a wow beer that would show well at a tasting or festival, but the sort of beer I’d get a second pour of… if this wasn’t my second to last bottle.

Matt and Mike Sour

Batch Size: 12.50 gal
SRM: 4.0
IBU: 4.0
OG: 1.054
FG: 1.012/1.011
ABV: 5.5%/5.6%
pH: 3.04/3.30
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 mins

Fermentables
------------------
77.1% - 18.50 lbs. Weyermann Pilsner
8.3% - 2.00 lbs. Weyermann Munich Malt
6.3% - 1.50 lbs. Rahr 2-row Brewer's Malt
4.2% - 1.00 lbs. Weyermann Carafoam
2.1% - 0.50 lbs. Weyermann Acidulated
2.1% - 0.50 lbs. Gold Medal AP Flour

Hops
-------
0.63 oz. Crystal (Pellet, 3.25% AA) @ 60 min.

Yeast
-------
1: Black Man Belgian B4
2: Starter of Hill Farmstead Anna dregs

Water Profile
-----------------
6 g Calcium Chloride

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
70
70
50
20
10
90

Other
--------
1.00 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 15 Mins
1 Whirlfloc @ 5 Mins

Mash Schedule
--------------------
Sacch Rest - 30 mins @ 158F

Notes
--------
Brewed 8/2/15 with Matt and Chris.

Collected 15 gallons of 1.045 wort with 3 gallon cold sparge.

Bagged hops. Chilled to 85 F with ground water, then 75F with ice.

Pitched 1 L of HF Anna starter. The other half got Black Man Belgian B4, and dregs from a bottle of Barrett's 2013 Lambic. Left at 64 F to ferment.

Racked at some point.

1/2/16 BM is sharply acidic, a bit sulfury. HF is mellower, tart, fruity, sweet.

7/17/16 Bottled both. HF had a bit more than 5 gallons with 130 g of table sugar. BM had a bit less than 5 gallons with 125 g. Both got a splash of Right Proper's house Lacto/Sacch culture for carbonation.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Ruby Red Grapefruit NEIPA

I’m a pretty unenthusiastic BJCP judge. I passed the test in 2008 with a "national" score and over the last nine years I’ve managed to earn a paltry nine judging points; 3.5 of which came at Hoppy Halloween Challenge 2015 - where I got to judge Best of Show with BJCP's top-ranked judge, Grand Master VIII, Steve Piatz. That was a treat, but usually I don’t love waking up early in the morning to drive somewhere to drink a variety too often oxidized IPAs, fusel Belgians, and over-carbonated stouts. Sometimes though it works out and I get lucky and taste an inspiring entry.

Dosing a sample of IPA with hibiscus.That happened in 2012, while judging the DC Homebrewer’s Cherry Blossom competition, when I judged a fantastic hoppy-hibiscus beer. I’ve been thinking about brewing one since. It tasted and looked like ruby red grapefruit juice, bitter and aromatic, citrus and floral, finishing with a hint of tart brightness. Delicious and unique.

I took the other half of the Citra-Mosaic NEIPA I posted about last week and finally made it happen! It was the same wort through pitching the yeast. I used different dry hops, Ekuanot and Eureka, selected out of convenience rather than intention. Northern Brewer describes Ekuanot (formerly Equinox) as "In the midst of the bright citrus and melon there is a ribbon of green pepper. Or something like green pepper. It’s not green pepper in the eat-it-with-hummus-use-it-on-a-fajita sense of green pepper." Not exactly appealing. I was hoping that the mid-fermentation addition paired with the fruitiness of grapefruit zest 48 hours before kegging and a dose of hibiscus tea in the keg would lead to a fruity impression. Those are ingredient techniques I had used separately in a Grapefruit APA and a Hibiscus Wit (among others).

After brewing the batch I decided I should track down the brewers of the original "Pink Hoppy Bunny." I reached out to former DC Homebrewers President Josh Hubner and he revealed the brewers to be Pete Jones (of Lost Lagers) and Cody Gabbard. They responded that the base was a wit hopped with loads of Citra, with hibiscus and rose petals added directly to the fermentor. Turned out that batch won the category!

Ruby Red NEIPA

Smell – Mostly hops, dank, resiny, borderline green onion. Occasional tropical mango notes. Like Simcoe and Summit had a baby, and they pumped it full of steroids. Blocks out the citrus and hibiscus, but they help to temper it... a little.

Hibiscus NEIPA next to our "wild" pumpkin patch.Appearance – Red NEIPA! Oddly clearer than the other half of the batch, especially considering the beers looked similar before infusion/kegging. Maybe an effect of the lower pH? Nice slightly pink head, sticky lacing.

Taste – Really dank, Pacific-Northwest, resiny, fresh nose-in-the-hop-bag hoppiness. Firm bitterness, considerably higher than the NEIPA half. Likely a result of the lower final pH (4.05 compared to 4.57). Finally, in the finish a touch of grapefruit and cranberry-hibiscus comes through. Luckily what I don’t get is the green pepper that is a common descriptor for Ekuanot, a flavor I tasted in several beers brewed with the lupulin powder.

Mouthfeel – Thinner, crisper than the straight NEIPA. Not as rounded. The higher acidity again. Similar medium carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – I'd hoped hibiscus and grapefruit would balance the dank hops, but they get trampled. I may try dumping in a bottle of grapefruit juice into the keg before it kicks. It isn’t a bad beer, just discordant with what I was trying to brew and how it looks.

Changes for Next Time – Fruitier, more grapefruity hops. Cascade, Chinook... Citra. Surprised that the early dry hop addition didn't "soften" the aromatics more. The vague memory of that two ounces of beer from the competition will continue to haunt me until I try this one again… luckily now I have the recipe! A 50/50 blend with the New Englandier half of the batch gets pretty close to what I wanted.

Recipe

Batch Size: 5.50 gal
SRM: 3.6
IBU: 67.7
OG: 1.059
FG: 1.013
ABV: 6.0%
Final pH: 4.05
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71%
Boil Time: 60 minutes

Fermentables
-----------------
58.8 % - 7.5 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
20.6% - 2.625 lbs Weyermann Carafoam
20.6% - 2.625 lbs 365 Old Fashion Rolled Oats

Mash
-------
Mash In - 60 min @ 155F

Hops
-------
Whirlpooling the NEIPA.1.25 oz Columbus (Whole, 15.5% AA) @ 15 min
2.00 oz Citra (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
2.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ 30 min Whirlpool
4.00 oz Eureka (Pellet, 18.00% AA) @ Day 2 Dry Hop
4.00 oz Ekuanot (Pellet, 15.00%) @ Day 2 Dry Hop
0.50 oz Ekuanot Cryo (Lupulin, 26.00% AA) @ Keg
2.00 oz Eureka (Pellets, 18.00% AA) @ Keg

Other
-------
10.00 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash

8.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) @ Mash
1.00 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10% @ Mash
.50 tsp Lactic Acid @ Mash

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
150
150
150
10
5
40

Yeast
-------
Omega British Ale V (OYL-011)

Notes
-------
Recipe was originally 11 gallons, split with a standard NEIPA. Values represent the batch tasted here.

Brewed 6/18/17

24 hours before pitching fed a cup of harvested slurry (~1 month old) from, 2.3% IPA ~2.5L of starter wort.

Mashed in with 4.5 gallons filtered DC diluted with 3 gallons of distilled.

pH of mash originally read 5.51 at Mash temperature (~5.7 at room temperature) with salts and phosphoric. Rest of phosphoric down to 5.36. Lactic (ran put of phosphoric) got down to 5.26/5.46.

Sparged with 1.75 gallons of distilled, cold. Collected 7.00 gallons @ 1.053.

Chilled to 75F left at 65F to cool for a few hours to 70F before pitching.

Fermenting well after 12 hours. 67F internal.

6/20/17 Down to 1.026, dry hopped FV2 with 4 oz each of Eureka and Ekuanot.

6/26/17 Added the zest from two ruby red grapefruits loose to the fermentor. Dunked in StarSan, zest removed with a vegetable peeler, and pith scraped off with a spoon.

6/28/17 Kegged with bagged hops, purged. .5 oz of Ekuanot Lupulin powder, plus 1 cup of hibiscus concentrate (5 min soak with 1.5 cups off-boiling water and 1 oz of hibiscus from TPSS Coop). Attached to gas and left in the kegerator.

6/30/17 Added an additional 2 cups of hibiscus tea made with 2 oz of hibiscus, color and flavor weren't there.

Ruby Red Grapefruit NEIPA.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cryo Lupulin NEIPA: Citra-Mosaic

Trillium Stilling Street vs. my Citra-Mosaic NEIPA.
A few weeks ago someone asked on my Facebook how I’d stack NEIPAs against commercial versions, I prefer my best to all comers, save Tree House Julius and Trillium Double-Dry-Hopped Fort Point. For my palate, across their lineup Trillium is close to perfect. The lack of a line to buy cans is a bonus. I also have a bias for the brewery that is open with their process, not to mention that JC is a former homebrew blogger and someone I've shared a few beers with. What is remarkable is that he has increased quality and scale, despite having to adjust process (including yeast).

I’ve learned that putting my one-off attempts head-to-head with my favorite commercial examples of a style are often an exercise in humility. As a homebrewer I don’t have the reps to dial in a recipe the way a brewery does, I don’t have the equipment, or the resources. So, when I grabbed a four-pack of Trillium Stillings Street IPA (their Nelson Sauvin showcase) at the Boston brewery on my way to Logan last week, I was already looking for excuses for why the carbonating IPA I was returning home to wouldn’t be as good.

This recipe is the culmination of three years of attempts at cloudy-juicy IPAs. Most of it will be familiar from previous batches, but as always a few tweaks. Water treatment was pretty much my standard, just a little more heavy handed up to 150 PPM for calcium, chloride, and sulfate. The grist was heavy on both flaked oats and Carafoam. I added a small dose of Columbus at 15 minutes to slightly elevate the bitterness over my NE Australian IPA, Columbus is rich in thiols which make it a good (inexpensive) choice for hot-side additions. Fermented with Omega British V, their answer to London III, harvested from my 2.3% NEIPA. A big dose of Mosaic and Citra pellets for a hop-stand, and another massive charge (8 oz in 5 gallons) 48 hours into fermentation once the yeast passed 50% apparent attenuation.

A traditional pellet on the left, a lupulin pellet on the right.When I was ready to keg I brought in a ringer, Yakima Chief Cryo Hops "LupuLN2" lupulin powder. I picked up samples at CBC, and ordered extra now that it is available to homebrewers. This is the alpha acids and oils roughly double-concentrated with much of the green plant material removed. The big advantage is that the plant material absorbs iso-alpha and other compounds from the wort (not to mention wort itself). While this may sound similar to T45 pellets, the improvement here is using nitrogen to reduce oxidation and temperature. The more concentrated the oils become, the more aromatic-volatilizing heat that is generated. See Scott’s fantastic post and Stan's summary for more details.

NEIPA: Lupulin Edition


Smell – Mix of big tropical fruit (mango especially), melon, pineapple, with that certain dank-fruitiness I get from Mosaic (even more from Nelson, and a bit less from Hallertau Blanc likely 3S4MP). While it has fruit flavor, it still has the telltale notes of hops. I enjoyed the aroma of the Mosaic Cryo, the Citra was so concentrated it was almost offensively dank, luckily upon dilution the contribution is delicious! The hop nose jumps out of the glass, even more so than the Stillings Street.

Appearance – Glowing yellow body, a shade and a half lighter than the Stillings Street thanks to lots of oats and no C10. A couple flecks of particulate. Nice white head, great structure, but I wouldn’t mind if it lasted a little longer.

Taste – Totally saturated juicy hops with just enough bitterness. Citra and Mosaic are punchy and can carry an IPA along, but together they have a wonderful synergy. Pineapple, orange, Sauvignion blanc, and mango. A little drier than Stillings Street, the sweetness enhances the “juice” character. Bitterness is perfect, just there without lingering.

Mouthfeel – Smooth, coating hop oiliness, soft. Medium carbonation, or almost, perfect.

Drinkability & Notes – A beer that is difficult not to have a second pour. Some IPAs grate on the palate, this one soothes the bitterness without being sugary. The combination of huge hop aroma, saturated hop flavor, restrained bitterness, and fluffy body is what I want to drink.

Changes for Next Time – This is my dream IPA, the best NEIPA I have brewed. In comparison, the Trillium I bought four days before the tasting isn't as fresh and vibrant. Not their fault, how can you compete against beer that was in contact with dry hops 30 seconds ago? Might as well take advantage of every trick I have to make up for the lack for hop contracts, a centrifuge, and some of the best brewers in the country!

The small amount of grain the hop filter caught on the wort's way to the kettle.Recipe

Batch Size: 5.50 gal
SRM: 3.6
IBU: 67.7
OG: 1.059
FG: 1.012
ABV: 6.2%
Final pH: 4.57
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71%
Boil Time: 60 Mins

Fermentables
-----------------
58.8 % - 7.5 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewer's Malt
20.6% - 2.625 lbs Weyermann Carafoam
20.6% - 2.625 lbs 365 Old Fashion Rolled Oats

Mash
-------
Mash In - 60 min @ 155F

Hops
-------
1.25 oz Columbus (Whole, 15.5% AA) @ 15 min
2.00 oz Citra (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
2.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ 30 min Whirlpool
4.00 oz Citra (Pellet, 12.00% AA) @ Day 2 Dry Hop
4.00 oz Mosaic (Pellet, 12.25%) @ Day 2 Dry Hop
1.00 oz Citra Cryo (Lupulin, 26.00% AA) @ Keg
1.00 oz Mosaic Cryo (Lupulin, 26.00% AA) @ Keg

Other
-------
10.00 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash

8.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) @ Mash
1.00 tsp Phosphoric Acid 10% @ Mash
.50 tsp Lactic Acid @ Mash

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
150
150
150
10
5
40

Yeast
-------
Omega British Ale V (OYL-011)

Notes
-------
Still no trouble with hot break clogging up the hop screen.
Recipe was originally 11 gallons, split with a Hibiscus-Grapefruit IPA. Values represent the batch tasted here.

Brewed 6/18/17

24 hours before pitching fed a cup of harvested slurry (~1 month old) from, 2.3% IPA ~2.5L of starter wort.

Mashed in with 4.5 gallons filtered DC diluted with 3 gallons of distilled.

pH of mash originally read 5.51 at Mash temperature (~5.7 at room temperature) with salts and phosphoric. Rest of phosphoric down to 5.36. Lactic (ran put of phosphoric) got down to 5.26/5.46.

Sparged with 1.75 gallons of distilled, cold. Collected 7.00 gallons @ 1.053.

Chilled to 75F left at 65F to cool for a few hours to 70F before pitching.

Fermenting well after 12 hours. 67F internal.

6/20/17 Down to 1.026, dry hopped FV1 with 4 oz each of Citra/Mosaic.

6/28/17 Kegged with bagged hops, purged, in each (1 oz each Citra and Mosaic Lupulin Pellets from Farmhouse Brewing).

NEIPAs are fantastically sensitive to oxygen, even compared to standard IPAs, here's what my gravity sample looked like after 24 hours exposed to the air compared to a fresh pour. The best guess at why this happens is the transformation of phenols into quinones via oxidation and perhaps polyphenol oxidase (a similar process is responsible for browning in avocados, tea, and cocoa). I suspect the color change looks more dramatic than clear IPAs given the low starting SRM and haze.

Fresh pour compared to a 24 hour old oxidized sample.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Dark Brett Saison: Date and Pomegranate

What started as an annual tradition in 2007 is coming up on its tenth anniversary. That's right, Alex and I have been brewing dark saisons together since the year the first iPhone was released! We've managed to fall a year behind though. We’re just now planning Dark Funky Saison #9, by next year we might be brewing a big batch of #10 at Sapwood Cellars?! I'd love to create similar series of seasonal beers at the brewery, the same concept but continually evolving the base beer and additions. Rich-ponderous beers for the winter, fresh-floral for the spring, and bright-fruity in the summer.

Taking a step back a year to when we brewed Dark Funky Saison #8. It was a “what’s on hand” batch. I had sacks of Weyermann Bohemian malts on hand for Pilsner and Tmave, my House Brett Saison Culture, and Mandarina Bavaria hops. Bootleg Biology is taking pre-orders for the second release of their version of my Brett-Lacto-saison culture this week, 7/5-7/10. Lots of good reports from the first release in this thread.

Rather than the usual dried fruit we added pomegranate molasses and date syrup. I’d brewed an Easter Quad with pomegranate molasses, and my split batch sugar experiment included date sugar. Anytime water is removed from fruit whether by drying or boiling it takes some of the subtle aromatics with it, but the resulting concentrated flavors tend to be more complimentary to dark malts.

We decided to keep the starting gravity low, much lower than Dark Saison 7's 1.071. With the high attenuation even the seemingly session-strength original gravity of 1.045 resulted in 5.6% ABV.

Dark Funky Saison Eight

Smell – Rich aroma of dark fruit, pumpernickel toast, and clay or steel. I don’t get dates or pomegranate specifically, but I don’t think a beer at 1.045 could have that nose without them.

Appearance – The brown color of a brown ale, with rich red highlights. Clear. Pours with a voluminous tan head that sinks over a couple minutes receding to a ring.

Taste – The fruits add an rich, dark, authentic flavor that I usually associate with Belgian dubbels and oud bruins. A combination of date and CaraMunich? Slight cherry or plum, some from the house culture. Mild tartness and funk even after all of this time between the fermentor and bottle. Finishes with a bright fruitiness I take to be the pomegranate.

Mouthfeel – Rounded, firm carbonation at first but it seems to leave the beer quickly.

Drinkability & Notes – Drinks like a bigger beer than it is, in a good way. Reminds me of a less-sour, less-cherry version of Russian River Supplication. Not a wow beer, but it works. The date and pomegranate play supporting roles that could have been taking by candi syrup or another adjunct. My house culture did well, staying restrained despite the age compared to its usual duty.

Changes for Next Time – I can't think of much to change on this beer, maybe pull back on the IBUs to allow a little more lactic acid production from the bacteria. Although the strain in the blend seems to be getting more hop-tolerant with time.

Recipe

Batch Size: 12.00 gal
SRM: 21.7
IBU: 14.2
OG: 1.045
FG: 1.002
ABV: 5.6%
Final pH: 3.91
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78%
Boil Time: 90 mins

Fermentables
-----------------
38.1% - 7.00 lbs. Weyermann Floor-Malted Bohemian Pilsner
38.1% - 7.00 lbs. Weyermann Floor-Malted Bohemian Dark
5.4% - 1.00 lbs. Briess Caramel Munich
5.4% - 1.00 lbs. Weyermann Carafa II
8.2% - 1.50 lbs. Alwadi Date Syrup
4.8% - .875 lbs. Alwadi Pomegranate Molasses

Hops
-------
1.00 oz. Mandarina Bavaria (Pellet, 6.50% AA) @ 75 min.
2.25 oz. Mandarina Bavaria (Pellet, 6.50% AA) @ 0 min.

Extras
---------
5 g Calcium Chloride @ mash
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 5 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 5 min.

Calcium
Chloride
Sulfate
Sodium
Magnesium
Carbonate
70
70
50
20
10
90

Yeast
-------
Mad Fermentationist House Saison Blend

Mash Schedule
-------------------
Sacch Rest 45 min @ 154F

Notes
---------
Brewed 3/12/16 with Alex

16 gallons filtered DC tap water. 5 g of CaCl.

Heated to 165 slowly over 15 minutes. No sparge.

Date syrup added at the start of the boil, pomegranate molasses added at the end. Chilled to 65F. Shook to aerate. Pitched decanted House Saison culture.

1/2/17 Bottled 5 gallons with 4 oz of table sugar and Champagne yeast.

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